home listen a- z back next
Holly Williams

A Conversation with Holly Williams (continued)

PM: So with only one CD behind you, you've already played with a whole lot of interesting people, right?

HW: Yes.

PM: On the road.

HW: And you know what's funny? A lot of touring I did was before my first album was out. When I started playing in Nashville, I guess I was 18 when I first started doing acoustic nights around town alone, and kind of any gig that I could get at first. And during that time I was just playing, and I ended up meeting so many different people just through doing that. So when I did a couple shows with John Mellencamp, that was before a record deal or having a record.

PM: So how did that happen?

HW: Let's see, Mellencamp happened through a booking agent that saw me play one night at a club in Nashville, and was booking a couple for him, and put me on it. And then the Billy Bob Thornton tour randomly came about because his manager met me, same kind of thing, and saw me play in Nashville. And Ron Sexsmith, same kind of thing, someone that worked with him saw me play.

PM: Oh, God, talk about one of my favorite guys.

HW: Me, too. I love him.

PM: What was it like playing with Ron?

HW: It was amazing. I was 18, and I went over to the UK with a backpack, with some CDs and a guitar--I mean, totally hobo style. Everyone assumes, because I'm in the family I'm in, that it's all--I don't know what they think, probably drugs or something, I guess.

PM: Well, musical royalty, they think.

HW: But oh, it was great. I mean, I'm one of those people that loves to travel to any new place, where I can be alone forever and just find my own way around. And it was just so great. For me to go overseas for the first time with one of my favorite songwriters and someone I respect so much, it was just great, because we were in a little car driving all over the UK and playing shows. And it was just really inspiring, because he has--even though he's not selling millions of records, he has such a strong fan base. And people, instead of their waiting for his big hit single, they know every song, they know every word. That was amazing. We've kept in touch since then, and hoping to do something again maybe in the fall or next spring.

PM: And he's kind of a quiet guy, but once you get him going he's not.

HW: Yeah, you're right. He was very, very quiet at first. And then he opened up a little more. And it was just great. I mean, he has people like Paul McCartney inviting him over for breakfast at one time. And Elvis Costello loves him. I mean, there are huge musical figures who love him.

PM: Oh, I remember hearing about the time that Elvis was on the Letterman show, and he was sitting in the chair. And right when they were cutting to a commercial break, he held up Ron's record.

HW: Did he really?

PM: And he said, "Buy this record," right to the camera.


HW: Oh, that's so funny. Well, he gets that a lot of time from people. I remember when he was touring with Cold Play, Chris Martin said, "If I'm in the charts, then I feel ashamed that I'm in the charts and Ron Sexsmith isn't." I mean, they were huge supporters. He opened for Cold Play for a while. And Ron is just one of these artists that when you find him, it's like finding a goldmine. But people aren't really looking, I guess.

PM: On the other hand, there's this unknown guy named Bob Snider in Canada that all the Canadians worship. And his--

HW: I know who you're talking about.

PM: You know Bob Snider? Very strange, beautiful guy?

HW: In Canada Kasey Chambers introduced me to his music. I've heard a couple songs of his that they played me.

PM: So amazing.

HW: Yeah.

PM: And the third guy in the story [Michael Wrycraft] told this story where he, Ron, and Bob were all going to the Juno Awards, because they were all nominated, and Ron and Bob in the same category, in Best Roots Solo something. And so when Ron won the award, he got up there and he said, "Well, thank you very much, I really appreciate it. But I just want you to know, when I go home and listen to music tonight, I'll be listening to Bob Snider."

HW: Oh, wow! That is great.

PM: That's really something, right?

HW: [laughs] That is great. But yeah, so that came about--a good bit of that was right before I was signed. And I mean, since then, I've played with great people, too. But personally, Ron, and Kasey Chambers, I love, too--but Ron was just really exciting because I was really young and hadn't traveled at all or toured at all. And he did that for me.

PM: It's beautiful.   continue

print (pdf)     listen to clips      puremusic home